Benefits of volunteering for Planning Aid England
Volunteering can give opportunities to gain experience and develop skills. Volunteering can:
- Count towards Continuing Professional Development
- Provide a useful 'reality check' by giving new perspectives on how the general public interact with the planning system
- Give insights into new areas of planning activity
- Broaden experience of how other local authorities and / or sectors operate
- Widen professional networks
- Provide valuable experience of community consultation and capacity-building
- Refresh interest and opens up new opportunities
- Give access to low-cost, relevant training
- Allow planners who have retired, taken a career break, or work outside mainstream planning to keep up-to-date with planning issues
- Give newly qualified planners opportunities to broaden their experience
- Develop 'people' skills
- Give something back to the wider community
- Help improve links between the general public and the planning system
- Be rewarding and enjoyable
If you still need convincing here is some of their personal feedback:
"Volunteering has given me the opportunity to deliver independent advice to people who are not planning professionals but very keen to engage with the planning system. Often this has been an illuminating and uplifting experience!"
"I have proven my ability to negotiate…and I have enjoyed translating professional planning jargon to a language understood by the general public."
"The broad areas that Planning Aid provides advice on have enabled me to learn about other areas of planning I may not have had significant knowledge/experience in."
"Engagement with just one village community in one neighbourhood plan has helped me re-connect with the original motivation behind town planning as a movement, still relevant today and energised by lay people who really care about what happens around them. It was quite inspiring, and refreshing !"
"It was interesting to look at development from the perspective of an 'objector', using my knowledge and understanding of the planning process to advise on material considerations"
Our volunteers also take heart in knowing that the advice and assistance they have provided have had a real difference to individuals and communities:
"Advice and help was first class, nothing being too much trouble for them. We were all very pleased for all the help they were able to give"
"A very big excellent and a big thank you to all of the staff who helped me…You provide a great service"
Volunteering for Planning Aid England is also of benefit to employers as it enables their staff to gain experience and to develop and learn new skills. Our volunteers also recognise the positive impact this can have:
"Volunteering has directly benefitted my work in Government by ensuring that I have a sound understanding of real-world planning to inform policy development and to help ensure that it achieves its aims."
"On a professional level, volunteering has helped me to work with the public in my day job as I've got another insight into how people perceive local planning authorities – at the very least it's made me more patient and sympathetic."
Want to know more?
See our How to apply page.